Albany Common Council Bans Smoking in Bus Shelters

Written by Theresa Zubretsky on July 8, 2014

On Monday, July 7, 2014, the Albany Common Council voted unanimously to prohibit smoking inside city bus shelters. This new local law provides an additional boost to the long-standing policy of the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) prohibiting smoking in shelters. Up until now, CDTA could do little else to enforce their policy other than revoke a rider’s ability to ride the bus. But the new local law makes smoking in shelters enforceable by city police and punishable by a $50 fine.

Thank you, Common Council members, for supporting public transportation and public health!

Read the Times Union story.

CDTFC Gets Grant Award to Reduce Youth Smoking

Written by Theresa Zubretsky on July 1, 2014

Today is the first day of a new 5-year grant from the NYS Department of Health which will support the continuation of our tobacco-free work in the Capital District. As we look back on the past five years, we have a lot to celebrate, including:

The creation of more than 500 smoke-free housing units, most of which are affordable and public housing units.
The creation of tobacco-free outdoor recreation areas in twenty municipalities.
More than fifty employers making their grounds tobacco-free, including nearly all area colleges.
Successful education campaigns about the harmful impact of tobacco marketing on young people.
A significant decrease in youth smoking between 2000-2012: high school youth smoking decreased by 56%; middle school youth smoking decreased by 70%.

Yet, this year alone, 12,900 New York State youth will become new daily smokers. And 280,000 kids now under 18 in New York will ultimately die prematurely from smoking.

There’s more for us to do. And we’re glad we’ll be around at least another year to do it.


NYC Scores Huge Victory in Preventing Youth Smoking

Written by Theresa Zubretsky on June 19, 2014

For the second time, a federal judge has determined that local laws to prevent the tobacco industry from offering discounts on cigarettes are not a violation of First Amendment rights. New York City’s new law that banned the redemption of coupons, multipack discounts, and lower prices on other goods when purchased with tobacco was upheld yesterday in a U.S. District Court. A similar ordinance in Providence, RI was upheld by a federal court in 2012.

This decision is a huge victory for New York City and a huge win for public health. New York State has the highest cigarette tax in the nation, and witnessed a significant decrease in the smoking rate as a result. This positive health benefit of the higher tax is being compromised by the tobacco industry’s counter move to offer deep price discounts on cigarettes. By making their products less expensive, the industry can keep them more affordable, especially to young people who are particularly price-sensitive.

New York City and Providence have fought the fight and landed on solid constitutional ground, paving the way for other communities to follow suit. Will the Capital District be next?

Troy Drug-Free Community Coalition Hosts Public Dialogue

Written by Theresa Zubretsky on June 12, 2014

Thanks to the efforts of the Troy Drug-Free Community Coalition, more than forty people turned out last night to participate in a community conversation about the impact of substance abuse on Troy residents and what can be done about it. Panelists included a mother whose son nearly died from his heroin addiction, people in recovery, Deputy Commissioner of Rensselaer County Department of Mental Health Lou Desso, Troy Police Chief John Tedesco, and Joe LaCoppola, Program Director at Conifer Park in Troy.

Addressing substance abuse in all its forms—tobacco, alcohol, prescription drugs, marijuana and other illicit drugs—and preventing young people from using substances is a community goal that we at the Tobacco-Free Coalition share. To learn more about preventing youth tobacco use, see what you can do here.